It’s fitting that the first official episode of Moreton Bay Online should feature a conversation with the newly-formed Moreton Bay Foundation. The MBF is a newly formed non-profit, and it’s non-partisan – the only “stake” they have in how the Bay is managed and used, is that it stays healthy, beautiful, welcoming and productive for all of us, for generations into the future.
For this episode, I talked to Chair Rob Siganto and Director John Goodman about how the foundation came to be. I also wanted to know how they see the Bay – what they like to see and do out there, and how they can see things getting even better in the future.
Take a listen below, or head over to the home of Moreton Bay Online Podcast to subscribe (you can also find MBOP on your podcast app of choice.)
Collaboration builds capacity
It’s really important to the Foundation that people become involved and have their say on how Moreton Bay should be used (and indeed, what the Foundation itself should consider as it grows). Their key values include expert advice, but also to be independent, transparent, and collaborative. This means that to the Foundation, evidence (the science of Moreton Bay) is paramount, but it also means they feel the information we have about Moreton Bay should be shared widely and used to benefit the whole community – not just specific stakeholders.
This is important, because where the management of marine resources is concerned, time and again we find that when people feel valued and respected, and when they’re included in planning and consultation, they will be more inclined to support management decisions. Not only that, they feel more inclined to support others who use the resource.
This is what capacity is – a communal strength. When places have high capacity, they’re more resilient, and they’re able to recover more quickly after unexpected damaging events. This is the same if we’re talking about ecology (a healthy coral reef would recover to its former state more quickly after a brief period of bleaching, for example) or people in communities (a high capacity community is more likely to support each other during economic downturns rather than being “every man for themselves!”). The neat thing is, we can do both at the same time. This is something I call “community coastal capacity” – we look after each other by learning about what people need and aspire to, and we look after our coastal resources by building those needs and aspirations into our management plans.
The Moreton Bay Foundation is only recently formed, and it will be interesting to see how their plans for building Moreton Bay capacity play out. It’s encouraging that they’re inviting people to comment and contribute as they create their strategies for the future. Although they haven’t yet uploaded a draft strategic plan for public comment (take it from me, set-up for non-profits takes a loooot of time!) but when it does go up on their website, I hope everyone who’s interested will take a careful look at it and contribute their thoughts.